What’s the Point of Voluntary Cyber Security?

cyber securityA recent publication by the FDA regarding cyber security for medical devices got me wondering how ready law firms are for the true cyber security needs of the future.  The publication, official guidance to the medical device community, informs the manufacturers of medical devices that utilize wireless connectivity that it is necessary for them to consider cyber security in making their products.  Necessary, but not required.

Huh?  I don’t understand.  If the FDA believes, as their report says, that the risk of hacking medical devices is significant, why aren’t they simply requiring cybersecurity steps?  Why, before even stating the purpose of the rule, do they take a whole paragraph to emphasize that the word “should” as contained in the remaining NINE paragraphs does not indicate required action? For reference:

“FDA’s guidance documents, including this guidance, do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities. Instead, guidances describe the Agency’s current thinking on a topic and should be viewed only as recommendations, unless specific regulatory or statutory requirements are cited. The use of the word should in Agency guidances means that something is suggested or recommended, but not required.”

And how on earth does this have anything to do with lawyers? (more…)

Awareness is the Key Ingredient for a Successful BYOD Policy

byod policyI looked up at the 40-50 people who were attending my presentation at the 2014 Clio Cloud Conference, Law Firms in a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) World, and asked how many used a passcode lock on their phones.  Every hand went up.  “Well, this will be easier than I imagined,” I thought.  It was my first presentation at a conference like this, and it’s easier preaching to the choir, so to speak.

“How many use your phone for work,” was my next question.  Again, every hand in the room went up.  Then the bombshell hit.

“How many do so pursuant to a written Bring Your Own Device policy?”

Two hands.  In a room of 40-50 tech savvy lawyers. (more…)

What’s the Best Evidence of an Obsolete Law Practice?

obsoleteA dictaphone.

I have to admit I was a little surprised to hear this formerly ubiquitous tool of the legal industry identified as the demonstrative vision of an obsolete attorney.

Last week, I had the pleasure of being an invited speaker at the 2014 Clio Cloud Conference in Chicago.  Among the presentations I was able to attend was a talk about the future of legal technology by Sam Glover of Lawyerist.com.  Of all the tools and items he could have listed as an example of obsolescence, there it was: the dictaphone.

He asked the crowd if anyone still used one.  I didn’t raise my hand.  Sure, I type or use voice recognition for most of my practice, but I have one plugged right next to my monitor (where it most often serves as a speaker).  The senior partners in my firm all still dictate their letters, motions, briefs, and pretty much everything else into their handy dictaphone, to be transcribed by a legal assistant.

I knew that full-time use of a dictaphone was probably obsolete, and employing someone for the sole purpose of transcribing your dictation is FAR more expensive than the best voice recognition software available.  Yet even I was surprised by what I found on my return to my office… (more…)

Best New Apps for Lawyers – August & September 2014

Fall is in the air!  Unfortunately, that means irritating and unstoppable campaign ads are on TV.  Even YouTube is sporting some annoying Americans for Prosperity ads, which just don’t seem appropriate right before a Beyonce music video.  Oh well.  At least there’s football (kind of).  And, of course, new apps.

These are my Best New Apps for Lawyers – August & September 2014:


A Social Media Ethics Opinion that Got It Right

social media ethicsScore one for the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

All social media ethics opinions should be written this way.  Sure, I admit it, the Pennsylvania Bar is a little late to the party when it comes to their most recent social media ethics opinion, but at least they did something with that time.  Instead of releasing opinions piecemeal, like most states, they aggregated. There’s nothing wrong with shorter ethics opinions, but I’ve also seen too many attempts (mostly by the ABA) to put multiple issues into one opinion, only to provide an opinion that actually increases confusion.

That did NOT happen in this case. (more…)

Law Firms in a BYOD World

BYOD WorldDue to the significant volume of sources that I relied upon in putting together my presentation at the 2014 Clio Cloud Conference, Law Firms in a BYOD World, I have elected to provide the primary and secondary sources here in my blog.  Below, you will find the following sections: 1) Direct sources – sources for specific pieces of information or statistics cited in my presentation; 2) Secondary sources – sources that I relied upon for general thematic information; 3) Further reading – sources that I read and found generally informative while I was researching this presentation, but which I did not directly rely upon for my presentation.

For additional information, I have also provided links to several example or template BYOD Policies, should you need any assistance in drafting the right BYOD Policy for you and your firm.  In the coming days, I hope to also make my presentation available. (more…)

Clio Cloud Conference Live Blog – Day 1

clio cloud conferenceI’ve arrived in Chicago, at the stunning Radisson Blu Hotel, ready for day 1 of the 2014 Clio Cloud Conference.  Since my presentation on Law Firms in a BYOD World isn’t until tomorrow afternoon, I’ve decided to keep a live blog of the conference. Check back for new updates throughout the day! (more…)

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